Pax6 is required at the telencephalic pallial-subpallial boundary for the generation of neuronal diversity in the postnatal limbic system.

Center for Neuroscience Research, Children's Research Institute, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC 20010, USA.
Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 04/2011; 31(14):5313-24. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3867-10.2011
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT During embryogenesis, the pallial-subpallial boundary (PSB) divides the two main progenitor domains in the telencephalon: the pallium, the major source of excitatory neurons, and the subpallium, the major source of inhibitory neurons. The PSB is formed at the molecular interface between the pallial (high Pax6+) and subpallial (high Gsx2+) ventricular zone (VZ) compartments. Initially, the PSB contains cells that express both Pax6 and Gsx2, but during later stages of development this boundary is largely refined into two separate compartments. In this study we examined the developmental mechanisms underlying PSB boundary formation and the postnatal consequences of conditional loss of Pax6 function at the PSB on neuronal fate in the amygdala and olfactory bulb, two targets of PSB-derived migratory populations. Our cell fate and time-lapse imaging analyses reveal that the sorting of Pax6+ and Gsx2+ progenitors during embryogenesis is the result of a combination of changes in gene expression and cell movements. Interestingly, we find that in addition to giving rise to inhibitory neurons in the amygdala and olfactory bulb, Gsx2+ progenitors generate a subpopulation of amygdala excitatory neurons. Consistent with this finding, targeted conditional ablation of Pax6 in Gsx2+ progenitors results in discrete local embryonic patterning defects that are linked to changes in the generation of subsets of postnatal excitatory and inhibitory neurons in the amygdala and inhibitory neurons in the olfactory bulb. Thus, in PSB progenitors, Pax6 plays an important role in the generation of multiple subtypes of neurons that contribute to the amygdala and olfactory bulb.

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    ABSTRACT: The transcription factor Pax6 is a crucial regulator of eye and central nervous system development. Both the spatiotemporal patterns and the precise levels of Pax6 expression are subject to tight control, mediated by an extensive set of cis-regulatory elements. Previous studies have shown that a YAC reporter transgene containing 420Kb of genomic DNA spanning the human PAX6 locus drives expression of a tau-tagged GFP reporter in mice in a pattern that closely resembles that of endogenous Pax6. Here we have closely compared the pattern of tau-GFP reporter expression at the cellular level in the forebrains and eyes of transgenic mice carrying either complete or truncated versions of the YAC reporter transgene with endogenous Pax6 expression and found several areas where expression of tau-GFP and Pax6 diverge. Some discrepancies are due to differences between the intracellular localization or perdurance of tau-GFP and Pax6 proteins, while others are likely to be a consequence of transcriptional differences. We show that cis-regulatory elements that lie outside the 420kb fragment of PAX6 are required for correct expression around the pallial-subpallial boundary, in the amygdala and the prethalamus. Further, we found that the YAC reporter transgene effectively labels cells that contribute to the lateral cortical stream, including cells that arise from the pallium and subpallium, and therefore represents a useful tool for studying lateral cortical stream migration.
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